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Middle States Association, Then and Now

By November 29, 2019December 18th, 2021No Comments

When the Middle States Association was founded over 130 years ago, the self-study process was designed to collect information from individual schools and compare it to specific sets of quality indicators. The idea was that if a school were meeting the majority of the established indicators, it must be providing quality education.

That model prevailed for decades until research conducted in the 1960s on school effectiveness identified the critical attributes of high performing schools. MSA later incorporated that research into the accreditation process and designed new self-study protocols to encourage continuous school improvement.

Today, information and student performance data are gathered for self-study and analyzed to create improvement plans that serve as a basis for making changes. Schools examine their current performance with an eye towards continuously improving student performance and organizational capacity.

With a long history in school improvement, MSA is again altering the focus of the accreditation process by offering members the opportunity to create and share quality educational programs through the Sustaining Excellence action research protocol and Programs of Distinction. By encouraging schools to design solutions to the specific educational challenges they face and share the results with the larger educational community, and by documenting examples of world class programs, MSA’s new protocols have shifted the emphasis on inputs and outputs to the more fluid process of creating a quality education for every student.

In addition to helping our member schools continuously improve their students’ performance and recognizing those that do, we also want to serve as a repository for proven practices. Our vision is for all schools to have the tools necessary to provide world class educational opportunities and attain the highest level of performance from their students.

In the coming year, you can look forward to expanded resources on our website describing the research our member schools are doing and the exemplary programs many have developed.

We encourage our members to use this opportunity to learn from our network of schools, to share your proven practices and to collaborate with our professional staff to solve the educational challenges we all are facing.

For more information, visit the member resources page on our website at and check out some of the examples in this issue of our newsletter, The Standard.

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